Coronavirus: Yorkshire Air Ambulance grounds both aircraft

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Helicopter ambulanceImage source, Yorkshire Air Ambulance
Image caption,
Both of the helicopters used in Yorkshire have been grounded as key medical staff return to the NHS

The second of Yorkshire's two air ambulances has been grounded as specialist medical staff are diverted to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, Yorkshire Air Ambulance service said it was staffing only one of the two aircraft.

Now the air ambulance's critical care paramedics from both aircraft are to be utilised on the ground in the crisis.

The opening of Nightingale Hospital in Harrogate increases the need for added expert care in land ambulances.

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust announced on Monday that critical care consultants were to be redeployed back to their respective hospitals to focus on emergency medicine, anaesthesia and critical care.

On Thursday evening it was confirmed that the Harrogate Convention Centre was to be one of four national NHS Nightingale Hospitals specifically set up to deal with coronavirus patients.

Peter Sunderland, chairman of Yorkshire Air Ambulance, said "As the NHS anticipates the coronavirus crisis will intensify in the region over the next few weeks, demand on the new Nightingale Hospital in Harrogate will inevitably increase.

"This means that patients will need transferring by road ambulance to the facility, and this will be supported by Yorkshire Ambulance Service' specialist team of highly skilled paramedics.

"As our critical care paramedics fall into this category, is it vitally important that their skills are utilised to provide as much support as possible during this crisis period."

Mr Sunderland said for a temporary period, the Yorkshire Air Ambulance would be unable to fly either of their air ambulance helicopters for emergency purposes.

The aircraft may be used for transferring essential medical equipment or personnel across the region at some point in the future.

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